A chick of a very rare lanner falcon born in the breeding center of Lake Vico

The birth of the lanner chick in the breeding center of the European LIFE LANNER project is an encouraging sign that demonstrates the importance of concrete efforts to protect this species in danger of extinction.

Thanks to the constant commitment of the project managed by the Monti Cimini – Lake Vico Nature Reserve, located in central Italy, a pair of lanner falcons has given birth to a chick. This exceptional event confirms the importance and effectiveness of the activities carried out in the context of the LIFE LANNER project, sponsored by the Italian Ministry of the Environment and Energy Security and co-financed by the European Commission through the LIFE Programme.

The chick was born from eggs laid by Gea and Atlas, members of one of the lanner couples that managed to establish themselves in the project, raised in special aviaries. For the second consecutive year they reproduced thanks to a breeding technique tested by the project.

The animals are constantly monitored by the project operators via surveillance cameras active 24 hours a day. After being laid, the eggs were transferred to an incubator to improve the chances of hatching and closely follow the birth in the first days of life. The chicks at birth are very delicate, and if on the one hand the breeding by the pair of birds is a completely natural process, on the other it is not without risks. The rarity of this species, and the limited availability of genetically suitable captive subjects for releases into the wild, is a more than valid reason for the project operators to increase the probability of the birth and survival of the chicks. Once born, after the first few days, now ready for parental care, the chick was entrusted to a second pair of lanners, Tempesta and Uragano, who immediately began to take care of it. In the meantime the natural parents have started a second egg laying.

The Lanner (Falco biarmicus feldeggii) is a rare and vulnerable species, for which the project has implemented extraordinary protection actions. No more than 40 nesting pairs remain in the wild in Italy, making the conservation of the species urgent also at a national level. Thanks to LIFE LANNER, significant objectives have been achieved, such as the birth of laners in captivity, the release of 11 specimens, the genetic study of the species and the protection of power lines to prevent electrocution.

The Lago di Vico Wild Animal Recovery Center is the first public center in Europe to have been successful in reproducing the lanner, thanks to the LIFE Lanner project. Already in 2023, three chicks had been born thanks to captive breeding.

The Commissioner of the Reserve, Alessandro Pontuale, commented: “There is joy, there is satisfaction, for this birth. Today, on Earth Day, the Park is celebrating its very special Christmas. But on my part there is also a lot of gratitude towards Doctor Picchi, Director Cappelli and all the staff of the Nature Reserve who immediately believed strongly in this project. So much expertise, so many sacrifices which today are repaid by these extraordinary results which contribute in a fundamental way to the protection of this species and which elevate the work of the Park to international excellence”

The 4 pairs of adult lanars are kept in the aviaries of the breeding center. They are made up of specimens from seizures, non-recoverable individuals from other centers or purchased during the project from certified breeders.

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